NOTES & COUNTER-NOTES

 

 

There are many ways in which the thing I am

trying to say may be tried in vain to be said.

TIOLI

Whatís the point of saying something

since it can always be said another way.

DON

A tale: When the German philanthropist named Federman as his sole heir, Moinous immediately directed his lawyers to establish a lifetime stipend for the old guy upon wch he could draw up to 600DM per mo.

 

A counter-tale: Every year Moinous makes a large donation to UJA -- in $ not in DM.

 

Moinous & Moinous have never met: We are, therefore, the ideal collaborators, the unadulterated figments of each otherís highest and best thoughts.

 

Moinous & Moinous are vases communicants.

 

.... translated a passage which Mundo would have otherwise detected, recast it as a poem and sent it to him as mine. He shifted it to 2nd gear prose and returned it. I put rubber tires on the wagon bearing the pall. He put some moon behind the characters, just enough to cast weak shadow. I paved the road. He hid the heroes behind a rock. I made it a boulder. We argued "rock" or "boulder." The heroes started throwing pebbles at each other, then stones.

 

But the heroes kept missing the target.

 

We have always addressed each other formally, we have taken every advantage of every possible form of formal address when addressing each other.

 

But sometimes we address each other with the Sie or the Vous rather than just the You.

 

Our sole medium has been the United States Post Office.

 

Except UPS for large items.

 

Moinous cannot tell a lie.

 

Thatís a lie.

 

 

 

 

... never played golf with the F-Man. Never watched him cook the fried egg he made for his kid before she biked off to school.

 

Wrong. I believe you won the day we played at Bridgewater and I had to give you two shots a hole. In fact, if I remember correctly you raised the ante on the back nine. As for the eggs. Never fried. Always soft boiled. 3 minutes. And the kid never biked to school. She was always driven in the family car.

 

... never gazed at his wife entering a room in a white angora sweater, French heels.

 

Too bad for you. On the few occasions I had to gaze at your wife, I took full advantage of the gaze.

 

One has heard that Federman is above average height, and rather portly, as, say, the hefty Reichschancellor Helmut Coleslaw.

 

The average height and the portliness of Federman have been greatly exaggerated. He is more like Monsieur le Petit Président Tarte à La Crème.

 

One hopes we never meet.

 

Except in the afterlife.

 

If you shit on Federman know two things: one, that you are not the first. Second: Nor are you the last. Third: That Federman has the last word. Wch is: now I have you where I want you.

 

There is not much one can add to this. Except to say. Fourth: Federman learned about shit shoveling manure on a farm during the big war.

 

Please believe that for each other, neither exists.

 

Or rather that we only exist in the other.

 

His books are evidentiary.

 

They go out of print before they are published. Or else, if published, they fall behind the other books on the shelves.

 

Federman does not need to ask who is guilty.

 

Federman is the only human being alive today who is not afflicted with the Oedipus complex.

 

When you play with Federman, keep your eye on the ball.

 

Many balls have mysteriously vanished in the course of Federmanís excess of life.

 

 

 

 

 

It is not him that one doesnít trust, itís oneís girlfriend.

 

Nothing he can do about that. Girlfriends take one look at him, and immediately they start sweating.

 

If tonight is the night, Federman will be here.

 

Federman will arrive first and be the last to leave.

 

Moinous sitting shiva.

 

Yskadal Yskade ...

 

In his wallet, on his person, Moinous carries the receipt.

 

In his breast pocket Moinous carries the official records.

 

What does Moinous say to the officer who has stopped him for speeding? "Put her there."

 

And when the officer puts her there, Moinous slips him a twenty dollar bill.

 

Federmanís literary theories were invented to ward off readers.

 

Federman hates people who want to read his life story. Thatís why he hides his life story inside literary theories.

 

So far, Federman is unread.

 

Except in German. A language he refuses to learn.

 

Now is the time to let Federman off the hook.

 

Now is the time to let Federman take his assigned place in the middle of the pack.

 

So, whatís the hu-ha?

 

Hu-mbleness, thatís what it is.

 

What is the key to Federstudies?

 

One must understand when Federstudying that he is more dangerous than a photocopying machine. Therefore, one must Federstudy with gloves on.

 

How many Feders fit in a box?

 

Are we talking small box or big box here? Closet or Coffin?

 

When Federman shits the tricolor lifts its sock.

 

 

 

 

 

And the Marseillaise can be heard rising from the bottom of the toilet bowl.

 

If you want to know Federman, dear scholars of the future, do not read his books, do not visit him, his person or environs, do not read anything written about him.

 

Just consult Le Ministère des Victimes de La Guerre. Everything to be known about Federman is on file there.

 

Donít listen to him! Moinous will tell you he rode into Paris in Ď45 on the back of an US ARMY tank. Not a word of this is true. He walked, every dirty step he walked.

 

Damn right he walked. Barefoot at that. His espadrilles were stolen. And besides, the US ARMY tank was late.

 

Federman cannot stand the thought of his life.

 

That is why Federman reinvents himself every morning.

 

Moinous never had a choice.

 

Moinous is a rejected character from a Dostoyevsky novel. He never made it to the end.

 

Federman speaks with authority.

 

Everything Federman speaks cancels itself. In the end he will have said nothing.

 

Semper paratus.

 

He was there even before he arrived.

 

Ready for what?

 

Certainly not for the final solution.

 

Prêt-à-porter?

 

No, fait sur mesure.

 

"Finish your own sentence," is what Moinous might say.

 

How can he? "Moinous has never been able to finish a sentence." This was publicly stated at a writerís conference in Florida by a writer-enemy of Moinous.

 

Arrive? Depart?

 

Disappear?

 

 

 

 

 

Federman is a frog.

 

Federman is a failure as a frog, thatís what his wife always tells him.

 

Frog backward is GO RF

 

RF also stands for République Française.

 

Ray has brought the old guy at deathís door a bottle of scotch which the two men are drinking at a table as they watch a soccer match on a b&w tv. From time to time the old man snaps on a plastic mask and inhales oxygen from the green steel cylinder on the floor beside his chair. He offers Ray a sniff, Ray takes the mask, takes a whiff.

 

Then Ray asks the old guy, how much oxygen do you think we got left in the tank?

 

The ministries came to Rayís door to pray with him. Ray held the storm door open but stood on the threshold so that they could not step into his rooms. Ray looked into their eyes until they got the message. Then he closed the door.

 

What the ministries did not notice is that Ray was wearing his yarmelke made of army camouflage material which his daughter bought for him on Delancey street when he told her he was going to Germany.

 

Boring to be sure. Others find him assaultive, others egregious. Still more find him post-modern and more yet see enormous flaming phalliolii with man-shaped semen leaping from the smoking blind tip in stunt parachutes. To be sure, we ourselves see him mounted, atop a fiery Pegasus, a bagel under his ass to soften the hard blow and scrape of the saddle, a horsey arrow of desire, on rockers yet once more oh ye laurels, yet once more yr myrtles, with ivy never sere.

 

Personally he sees himself as musketeer, with a white panache on his hat and a long mustache. But sometimes he also see himself as a grain of salt. And just the other day he had a vision of himself as a virus.

 

I see London

I see France

I see Federman

qui mal y pense

 

I see Buffalo

I see Peoria

I see two bums

honni soit qui symbole y voit

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the mendicant scholar of future time who might seek a topic for his or her dissertation we recommend as a tempting felicitous analog to style Federman the letters of Mr. Sade home to Mrs. Sade from prison. Not that the one comes from the other but that both are derived from a similar place ... so similar indeed that Sade and Fede might well be sisters.

 

Hey sister can you spare a nickel?

 

or, ... elles níont pas toutes le même visage, sans être cependant dissemblables, ainsi quíil convient à des soeurs.

 

Nous sommes tous sortis du même trou.

 

Or, ... facies non omnibus una,

non diversa taman, qualem decet esse sororum.

 

Itís all Greek to him. Did he say, hurry up youíll miss the bus?

 

Why so many?

Oneís not enough.

 

Iíll take a dozen. On second thought, make it just ten. Like Moses.

 

Think of Federman as noodles, chips, rice ... a something which is only perceptible as an aggregate. Sand. Air. Blue. Water. Time. Gravel.

 

But donít forget the tomato sauce for the noodles.

 

Federman in his person bespeaks the authority of his experience but not its sentiment. Sentiment is secondary, external, an after the fact category. Let others weep. Federman salutes.

 

Federman is not Elie Wiesel even though they have often been confused.

 

Who is it coming to crush my berries?

 

If you have a job to be done F is the man.

 

Fede sitting with his dog. An hour passes. An hour ten minutes passes. One and one half hour passes. Two hours seventeen minutes passes. Man and dog are wide awake. You know, says Fede, I have named you well. The dogís head drops to the rug in confirmation.

 

The dog has read everything Fede has written. Or rather, Fede has read to the dog everything he has written. The dog has been postmodernized to death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No one listens like Federman listens. He is all ears. His knees are ears. His balls are ears. His ears have ears. His eyes are ears. What the hell is he listening for with such ball-busting intensity? Is it for something he has heard before? The man needs brandy. Waiter. Bring a brandy.

 

No one has a nose like Federman. He is all nose. His knees are noses. His balls are noses. His ears have noses. His eyes are noses. What the hell is he smelling with such ball-busting intensity? Is it for something he has smelled before? The man needs a good sniff. Doctor give him oxygen.

 

One may not understand LíOeuvre Federman by quotation.

 

Certainly not since LíOeuvre Federman abandoned quotation marks on July 16 1942.

 

Federman is always telling us his story.

 

The problem with the story, itís never the same.

 

Federman in Paris, holed up at fancy Hotel Lutetia on boulevard Raspail, paid for by his German publisher. He is writing a note to the Figment about the plaque mounted outside the building in tribute to the survivors of the concentration camps that were lodged at Hotel L when they first returned to Paris. "Such little cute French flags on it," he writes.

 

Federman forgot to mention in his note to the Figment that Hotel L was the headquarter of the Gestapo during the occupation. How could he have forgotten to mention that?

 

Scholars agree that quoting the master gets in the way of what they have to say about him.

 

Federman listens only to be able to repeat. Scholars should also learn to listen.

 

Iíll scoop their ashes into the palm of my hand so they can tell me what happened ...

 

... after I was abandoned.

 

The sound of the saxophone depends on nothing.

 

"It may have been a water-rat I speared

But, ugh! it sounded like a babyís shriek."

 

It is what you havenít got that counts.

 

Absence is the mother of us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fedís oeuvre as coverup.

 

Fedís oeuvre: ce vieil édredon rouge his folks dragged with them to Paris from the Polish ghetto.

 

I will dispute by signs only, without speaking, said he. The matters before us are so abstruse, so difficult and arduous, that words coming from the mouth of man will never be sufficient.

 

I shall dispute with fundamental sounds.

 

So then it was that everyone took heed, and listening with great silence, the man lifted his two hands high in the air, entwining his fingers, after the manner which they call, in china, the henís ass, and struck one hand against the other four times, then he opened his hands and struck one with the flat of the other until it made a clashing noise, then he struck four times, then twice, then he joined them, as if he had been devoutly sending his prayers to God.

 

Baruch ata aídoni -- hello aínu ...

 

Late at night, Moinous has stopped working. From his study he passes into the bright, orderly kitchen. From the drainboard he takes a glass and opens the sink tap to fill it. He stands at the sink, looking out through the window to the street, a patch of slick asphalt illuminated by a street lamp. He drinks some of the water. He stands at the window, looking toward the street. He does not see his reflection in the window. He does not acknowledge the figure of the man looking inward. Moinous watches the road.

 

Namredef waves frantically at Moinous from inside the window. Namredef shouts: what about me, what about me! Moinous drinks the glass of water, turns of the light off in the kitchen and goes to the bedroom. The wife half asleep asks: what time is it?

 

...he followed their example and came under the conduct of an illustrious lantern ...

 

... here now again selectricstud makes me speak ...

 

Say again?

 

I did already. Shall I repeat?

 

 

 

[Ace/Moinous]